I had lunch with mom and dad a Friday or two ago. We do that every couple of months. We meet in Wolcott, NY about a 50 minute drive for each of us and meet at the McDonalds right off Rt 104. My dad is early for everything so I always look for their car in the parking lot when I turn off Rt 104…and 9 times out of 10…they’ve beaten me there…even if I’m early!
I don’t know why I asked the question. I’m not sorry I did…but I might have re-phrased it if I had thought more about it. I asked them if they had been thinking more about heaven these days. Dad will be 86 this year…and mom will be 85 in May. Most of their friends have already gone on to be with the Lord. And they will most likely follow their friends before too many more years.
I want to go to heaven for so many reasons. It depends on when you ask me what I will tell you those reasons are. I’m a Christ follower so my primary thought about Heaven should be about being in God’s presence and meeting my Savior. Most often it is…but not always. And that’s not because I’m not eternally grateful for what Christ did for me on the cross. And not because I don’t understand the great commission or desire rewards or want to hear Him say “Well done.” But if I’m honest, I can’t picture those things…not yet anyway. Today, those things are just a dream of the reality to come. They are only familiar because I can, and do, read about them in Scripture. But I can kiss Kathy good-bye as she leaves for a 2 day conference today, or drive to Phoenix, NY and go hug my mom and dad. Watch my kids play Tennis and Lacrosse, listen to Brendan play guitar or get a free cup of coffee at Starbucks from Leah. They are my tangible “today” reality.
I don’t think Dad understood my question initially…and the question was probably more for me anyway. I want mom and dad to be excited to go to heaven even though I’m tearing up at the thought of them leaving as I write. Knowing that they are looking forward to Heaven is comforting to me. Kind of like the expectation I have now when I go to see them. I know there will be smiles and big hugs. The coffee will be on and mom will tempt me with something I probably shouldn’t eat.
For as much life and energy and enthusiasm they still have today…they tire much more easily. It seems like they are always battling the next physical challenge as the old earth -suit sort of falls off around them…it is in preparation for their new body. It’s a reminder that the dream of Heaven is taking shape. And the next frontier, which they have lived their lives in preparation for, is just over the horizon or as the old hymn says…”Over the sunset mountains…” So I love them while I can. I encourage my kids to get to know them better and learn from them. The legacy of faith and love they have shown us shines bright in our reality… and I know it will shine as brightly in our memories as well.
A few weeks ago now I had a health scare. It probably didn’t scare me as much as it should have…but nonetheless…it reordered my life dramatically…even drastically. I can no longer be unconscious about what I put in my mouth or whether or not I exercise. I stick myself with a needle 3-5 times a day to monitor the decisions I made just a few hours before. I have said good-bye to most foods and drinks I have eaten and drank my whole life. Foods that gave me pleasure. Now it’s about sustenance and blood sugar levels. My life will never be the same. It’s all too new to me for much complaining or regret. But I know I’m gonna want a Coke and a big cheeseburger somewhere down the line…and it will be tough to resist.
Does all this talk about heaven scare you or comfort you? I hope you know that you know you’re going to Heaven when this life is over. I pray that is your reality…not based on what I say but on what God says in his word.
If you are not sure what path you are on today but want to be, leave me a comment…I’d love to show you through Scripture how you can know for sure that Heaven will be your eternal home.